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ArchiCAD 19 and point clouds

Anonymous
Not applicable
Hi everyone,

As you're probably all aware, ArchiCAD 19 has the added new feature of importing point clouds. This is a quick perspective from someone who works primarily with point clouds extensively. Revit can import point clouds once they're converted inside recap into their own format, as the density and size of the point cloud increases they become horrible to work with and modelling from them can be tedious with no perspective views, even in plan and section.

My first issue is that .e57 format is rarely attributed to Leica products and a pain to export from Leica scanners, this means we're left with .xyz ascii files and these files for 10gb point clouds can be huge. What would be really nice to see is the ability to import in more standard formats than an .e57 and xyz. Is this an upcoming feature?

This leads me onto the next part of RGB values, whenc apturing data from point clouds the RGB value is typically not taken when processing large amounts of scans, in an ideal world everytime we scan we would take colour imagery for the RGB values but realistically this adds double the time to the work required and so is rarely used. Intensity values give enough information within the scan to distinguish the data. This is a missing option in the Point Cloud feature, without RGB values the intensity values don't come through and once again modelling with the point cloud is next to impossible. Will there be any ability in the future to import the intensity values along with the cloud? I understand there is no agreement with leica to work on their propriety data formats but will there be in the future?

The biggest strength so far has been in colour clouds and sectioning them. Typically there are a very small number of effective products that allow sectioning point clouds (not including Revit as this is incredibly slow and tedious), and the ones that do don't model directly as BIM, they model as nurbs and surfaces which is a whole different world. So if the point cloud ability expands this is definitely a way to go for a lot of modelers who are going from scan to BIM or even scan to as-built models.

Then this leads onto the problem of coordinate systems and Archicad, typically in Revit you work on project local with the survey point the link to say for example MGA and AHD. In ArchiCAD it has no issues dealing with large numbers in distance but sadly for some reason the Point Clouds never have the ability to come in using the coordinates it has stored, this is a big issue when attempting to provide correct drawings and models. I assume this is because the point cloud is converted?

Where is Graphisoft heading with the point cloud feature? Is it attempting to compete with Revit, if so it needs some work but it is definitely a contender and I would much rather work in ArchiCAD than Revit. Could someone with some information give me an idea of where the Point Cloud feature is heading?
3 REPLIES 3

Laszlo Nagy
Community Admin
Community Admin
Oscar wrote:
Hi everyone,

As you're probably all aware, ArchiCAD 19 has the added new feature of importing point clouds. This is a quick perspective from someone who works primarily with point clouds extensively. Revit can import point clouds once they're converted inside recap into their own format, as the density and size of the point cloud increases they become horrible to work with and modelling from them can be tedious with no perspective views, even in plan and section.

My first issue is that .e57 format is rarely attributed to Leica products and a pain to export from Leica scanners, this means we're left with .xyz ascii files and these files for 10gb point clouds can be huge. What would be really nice to see is the ability to import in more standard formats than an .e57 and xyz. Is this an upcoming feature?
Graphisoft do not discuss future development plans on public forum, nor do they make any claims/promises that such as such a feature will be in the next release, partly for competitive reasons, partly because of the nature of software development, where last minute bugs can kill a whole new version or feature.
So I think what I will do is I will forward this post to GS HQ for their information and consideration, as such feedback from someone such as yourself who is working with this feature every day is very valuable.

My question to you is: Which other formats do you think would be useful/important for ARCHICAD to support?

This leads me onto the next part of RGB values, when capturing data from point clouds the RGB value is typically not taken when processing large amounts of scans, in an ideal world every time we scan we would take colour imagery for the RGB values but realistically this adds double the time to the work required and so is rarely used. Intensity values give enough information within the scan to distinguish the data. This is a missing option in the Point Cloud feature, without RGB values the intensity values don't come through and once again modelling with the point cloud is next to impossible. Will there be any ability in the future to import the intensity values along with the cloud? I understand there is no agreement with leica to work on their propriety data formats but will there be in the future?
So you are saying that instead of RGB values a Point Cloud may contain only an intensity value? So in such a case the imported Point Cloud is monochrome, but the different points have different color intensity values?

Then this leads onto the problem of coordinate systems and Archicad, typically in Revit you work on project local with the survey point the link to say for example MGA and AHD. In ArchiCAD it has no issues dealing with large numbers in distance but sadly for some reason the Point Clouds never have the ability to come in using the coordinates it has stored, this is a big issue when attempting to provide correct drawings and models. I assume this is because the point cloud is converted?
I had the impression that this can be achieved by using the "Place Point Cloud Origin at Project Origin" option achieves that as shown in this clip:

https://youtu.be/QfOMxjFcIOo?list=PLnXY6vLUwlWWW2G9Ve7MxoLW2tZ9TWFMW&t=32
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owen
Newcomer
laszlonagy wrote:
Oscar wrote:
Then this leads onto the problem of coordinate systems and Archicad, typically in Revit you work on project local with the survey point the link to say for example MGA and AHD. In ArchiCAD it has no issues dealing with large numbers in distance but sadly for some reason the Point Clouds never have the ability to come in using the coordinates it has stored, this is a big issue when attempting to provide correct drawings and models. I assume this is because the point cloud is converted?
I had the impression that this can be achieved by using the "Place Point Cloud Origin at Project Origin" option achieves that as shown in this clip:

https://youtu.be/QfOMxjFcIOo?list=PLnXY6vLUwlWWW2G9Ve7MxoLW2tZ9TWFMW&t=32
This does work BUT if you ever move the point cloud (e.g by accident) you are stuffed and have to reimport the point cloud all over again.

Why? Well AC seems to create a bounding box around the point cloud with no 2D or 3D Hotspot to show where the actual point cloud origin is. If you select the point cloud in plan you only get a Hotspot at the weighted centre of the point cloud, not at the Project Origin (which is where there should be one), and you will also note that the Z origin of the Point Cloud object is not 0, rather the lowest point of the Point Cloud (e.g 13734).

AC should include in the PC Object a 2D+3D Hotspot at 0,0,0. The weighted centre hotspot currently provided is useless.

Also i agree that AC should import more of the common Point Cloud formats, although I also agree that proprietary formats output from scanners should be out of scope - the surveyor has to do some cleanup anyway, so export to an open format should be part of the process.

One piece of software I recommend for working with point clouds is CloudCompare .. its free, converts formats, adjust origin, recolour clouds, point decimation, etc. Very useful indeed. I've just now used it to reduce a 5GB PTS to 700MB XYZ through 10mm point spacing, and correct MGA coordinates to local so ArchiCAD would actually import it.
cheers,

Owen Sharp

Design Technology Manager
fjmt | francis-jones morehen thorp

iMac 27" i7 2.93Ghz | 32GB RAM | OS 10.10 | Since AC5

Anonymous
Not applicable
It's time to have the software developers from the 3D scanning world (FARO, Leica, Z+F, Topcon, Trimble etc.) actually have a talk with Graphisoft. I've been an Archicad user since v6.5, and have been using a FARO 3D scanner for the past four years. 2015 is the first year most of the major BIM players have the ability to natively import point clouds.

Archicad has a made good start, but the work flow is too complicated at present. One should be able to easily import scan data and then easily extract measurements from the point cloud -Whatever one needs for dimensioning as-built conditions. Point clouds are about accurate measurements and visualization.

I'm pleased to see that E57 and .xyz file formats are accepted in AC (others will follow). I'm less pleased by the data size restrictions (4gb?).

Is AC using the "intensity values" (reflectivity) at all?

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